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The information and technology sector of the world has seen an accelerated boom in the last decade. Since the introduction of the internet, one of the major key developments is, withouta doubt, the rise of Social media. When you say the term “social media”, many people especially millennials envision a few communication technologies that they use to text, video call, “snap” people with in their friend’s circle or relatives. But in actuality ,this is one if the living wonders that humanity has created following the dawn of the internet offering people across the globe communication. People before wouldn’t have Imagined being able to call someone in a different time zone and being able to see them in real time with help of social media technologies like FaceTime, WhatsApp, Messenger and the rest. You could perfectly say that these technologies have brought people closer to each other than ever before. Social media companies are becoming innovation hubs for many people as they become more and more involved in people’s lives today so does their need to serve the people more. This can be observed in many young adult lives of today from the moment they wake up from the bed and pick their phone to see the notifications got over night to the moment they lay down at the end of the day.
This has been also very instrumental in the grooming and shaping of several individual fortune’s since there are people whose entire financial map traces its history from Social media’s like Mark Zuckerberg(Facebook), Systrom(Instagram), Ben Silbermann (Pinterest), Evan Spigel (SnapChat) and several other people. Today’s generation has been blessed to see the presence of more refined social media technologies that has also led to the rise of more career options in the world. Certain careers like Social Media Marketing, YouTuber, Social Media Influencer for example Amanda Cerny, King Bach, Kylie Jenner etc. can be attributed to social media.
Social media has also helped to create safe spaces for people on the internet as many people create and join groups on platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp etc. with other people having the same or similar mindsets increasing sharing of ideas. At first, this was nonexistent but social media technologies have integrated and adjusted their services accordingly to fit within the lives of many people today. This can be attributed to the availability of highly talented people at their disposal from streams like C.S.E, BCA, B.Sc.(IT), B. Com etc. This has made social media companies to expanded rapidly offering more than just socializing and communicating facilities. For example, if you envision “WeChat” you may think it’s only texting and calling but in actuality, It has developed to become one of the biggest service apps available offering almost everything you may think of from mobile payments, texts, calls, video calls, online dating and many others all in one.
In today’s modern world, almost everyone is on some sort of social media platform especially those in urban areas as they have over taken the mainstream media. This is further proven by the immense numbers that most of the social media platforms boast and as we know numbers don’t lie. Here are the Biggest social media platforms as of 2019: Here, MAU’s stands for monthly active users
However, one thing you can’t dispute in today’s society is the enormous impact that social media has had on individuals, society and the social groupings of users. Since humans are social beings, everyone has an innate urge/need to keep in contact with loved ones and topics of interest thanks to curiosity. Thanks to social media, every person is somehow represented on the global scale with a voice that can reach the world being put at his fingertips. This is seen especially in marginalized and creative people like those who create memes. Many people now get their news from social media as seen in this Study. This is mainly due to the multiplier effect of social media where an article can spread from continent to continent across countries commonly known as “going viral” bringing news to people’s inbox within a blink of an eye. This has played a big part in countries politics as evidently seen in the Election of President Donald trump and Political fiasco in Uganda between the ruling government and singer turned politician Kyagulanyi Sentamu “BOBI WINE”.
Commerce is one sector that has seen a great impact from social media as companies realize the importance of connecting with customers in turn helping them with customer relations and building revenue in the process. Many social media houses have tools that enable business to grow audiences through Social media marketing. Advertising on social media has long been one of the ways these companies remain profitable since most of the communication services they offer area free of cost. This helps the retailing businesses to grow customers through e-commerce and maintaining positive reviews online. The social media presence today has a big impact as even many recruiters have resorted to social media to look for prospective employees on social media sites like LinkedIn. This has helped many people grow networks of people they know are the globe. This type networking has in some situations made some lucky people find the ‘soulmates’ via social media as they develop romantic relationships over long distances.
On the flipside of things social media has also brought with it some negative impacts making companies experience firsthand ill effects which forces them to go against the norm and remove social sharing buttons as seen in this case study by Taloon.com an online retailer in Finland. They found out that conversations increased by 11.9% when the social share button were removed from the retailer’s website.
Social media has also increased depression among many young adults as they gauge their success of the performance on social sites in terms of the number of shares, likes, messages, followers, friends they have in comparison to others. This has created a feeling of competition for validation that affects the mental states of several of them forcing some of them to go to extreme cases to forge and fake events like parties, gifts and life itself to look more “attractive on social media. With the ability of practically anyone to join social media, cyberbullying has boomed with the aid of social media which has led to multiple deaths of teenagers especially in developed nations like the USA, Canada and Australia. Following a research conducted by the University of Alberta about the effects of Cyberbullying in teenagers, 23% of the respondents report being bullied and 15% report bullying someone through many mean like spreading rumors, black mail and sharing private or embarrassing videos.
Intrapersonal relationships have been affected the most as many people now days seem to be better off on social media which creates artificial bonds which are time bound other than going out to experience real socializing events with other people which delays the development of social skills in many young adults. Also with the presence of the multiplier effect on many social media sites, it makes the spreading of fake news very easy and harder to combat online which may cause panic among crowds of people about facts which aren’t verified. This is very common on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Privacy is becoming more and more of a concern in today’s modern world. With the rise of social media giants like Facebook and Google that collect lots of data about individuals from the users and may in turn misuse it without the user knowledge under the disguise of offering better services to them. This is evidently seen from the previous Cambridge analyica data scandal involving Facebook. This type of threats that are present on social media like identity theft, stalking, harassment and have made many people lose jobs or even get public humiliation.
But as with all things, social media is a great tool for getting information to large masses as long as the content is relevant and correct since the need for information by people is ever growing. Lastly, a ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for.